Gran Caneria - sun, sea and sangrias

By Notes From Megan - Saturday, April 29, 2017

"Packing for holiday. Ok, so I need about 7 outfits, I've packed 28, just to be safe"

Sitting here in England tucked into some fluffy socks whilst it is blowing a hooley outside seems an appropriate time to write my first travel blog.

Back in September Sam and I treated ourselves to our second big holiday of 2016. We both needed to get away from the business of work and life so we booked a weeks stay at a place neither of us had visited before. 

As you can imagine by September it had started to get pretty dull here in England, shops were stocking mostly coats and scarves and I was trying to purchase a last minute bikini which was nearly impossible. I ended up with a River Island sale bikini that I panic bought and didn't even particularly like. I packed the items of clothes I had been planning in my head for the last month, then had to reduce it all by about a half as a week with only hand luggage turned out to be a tight squeeze! 

We arrived in Gran Canaria, Spain and hopped on our transfer to Gloria Palace Royal Hotel and Spa in Puerto Rico. It is in the southwest corner of Gran Canaria and is one of the seven Canary Islands. Im similar to a young child itching to get to our destination! I'm not the biggest fan of flying so arriving at the hotel to an offering of chilled champagne was just what I needed to relax. I relaxed immediately. The reception area had almost a conservatory feel to it with large glass windows to compliment its location of being set on the side of a very large hill overlooking the sea, so needless to say the view was stunning. I have never had such a 'wow' feeling so early on at a holiday resort and the first thing I did was take a photo, not realising that we would have the privilege of the same view every time we dined in the restaurant. 

The welcoming hotel staff showed us to our seaside facing room, and as per usual Megan-style I dumped my belongings on the bed and ran straight to the bathroom to rate it's decor which was beyond my expectation. I then explored every cupboard and drawer, opening everyone of them at high speed before digging out my bikini from my luggage and heading out to the pool for some afternoon tanning with a book. Half an hour passed and Sam and I had both fallen asleep with a cocktail next to us in the searing sunshine after a busy night of travelling and a lack of sleep. This is just how we wanted our week to be, a relaxing break away from reality with our toughest decision being to decide what cocktail to order next. 

It was a joint decision to spend a lot of our days by the infinity pool, taking part in as many of the games the reps organised to break up our routine of sunbathing and swimming. It's the first time since being at an all inclusive hotel that I checked the agenda and planned our days around the organised games. The hint of competition between Sam and I and the incentive of winning a bottle of champagne or a branded t-shirt was enough to draw us in. There was archery, pool bingo, table tennis competitions, pool biking, mini golf, snooker and many other activities to enjoy with the other guests in the heat of the sun, all of which we tried and usually failed at but its the taking part that counts right? :) 

One of the days we signed up to a ping pong competition, we were the first to the ping pong table and eagerly awaited our competition whilst secretly confident we would win as we had spent the previous day practicing. Our components arrived...with their own ping pong bats...who brings their own ping pong bats on holiday?! I realised our one day of practicing was probably not going to be enough to beat the true sportsmen we were up against. We sweated our way through some intense rounds and eventually got knocked out of the leaderboard, we assured each other that we never had a chance and then retreated back to the sunbeds, an activity we were both good at. Talk about being thrown in at the deep end, and not in relation to the pool for once.

We read our books, swam together, recorded go-pro footage, worked our way through the cocktail menu and generally enjoyed days of just doing things we wanted to do. The area was stunning and just looking around from our well situated hotel was a view that didn't get tiring. I took multiple pictures of the same scene to try and capture its beauty, all of which will not compare to seeing it in real life. 

On arriving back to our room one afternoon the spa staff had slipped a massage offer under our doors and it was all I needed to persuade me to book a 45 minute full body massage for the both of us. Sam wasn't too keen but knew I was desperate to do it and agreed to accompany me. It was a pretty funny experience, the staff were great but I am so ticklish I was having to stifle giggles when they were pressing on certain parts of my body. I definitely walked away from it with more than Sam did whose comment was something along the lines of 'well it was alright I suppose but I wouldn't do it again'. An activity I will maybe do with my girl friends next time but I appreciate him giving it a try. 

That evening we hung out at the hotel bar after dinner and laughed the evening away. I knew it was time to retreat back to the hotel room when Sam asked the bar man for a whisky, to which the bar man responded 'on ice'?. The glass was put in front of us with just 4 ice cubes in it to which I proceeded to lick the ice cube in the glass thinking that 'whisky on ice' was some clever invention where the ice cube melts and creates whisky. The bar man turned around and laughed at me whilst holding the bottle of whisky in his hand that he hadn't yet had the chance to pour into the glass yet. I now know that 'whisky on ice' is as simple as it sounds.

An excursion we decided on was to go on a boat trip advertised as 'dolphin watching'. Swimming with dolphins is on my bucket list and I couldn't turn down the offer to go and see them in the wild so we payed our money and went? Much like flying I realised that boat trips really aren't my thing either. I'm more of a land person. The water was pretty choppy and the catamaran wasn't the smoothest one I've been on. I kept my eyes peeled looking out into the distance for nearly the whole trip but to much disappointment didn't even see a glimmer of a dolphin. The trip was a bit of a hoax and badly advertised as we found out it is very uncommon to see Dolphins unless you go far out to sea and the route this boat takes is never really far enough out. They kept the mood upbeat and provided us with food and stopped in a shallow area for people to go snorkelling with the fish. We arrived back at the dock after watching the sunset from the boat on the way back and decided to grab a pizza and wine from a nearby restaurant and took it back to the hotel room for a night in for just the two of us, we ran a bath and watched prison break together. Maybe lame to do on holiday but it made a nice little change from our usual week routine of getting glammed up and going for dinner and eating too much. I probably wouldn't recommend the dolphin trip to others unless you research a bit into it and book with a company who genuinely have a high success rate of finding the Dolphins.

This aside, we woke up the next day to enjoy our last full day. We did our usual and planned our day around the organised activities, of which i would like to point out i excelled at and managed to win myself the t-shirt I'd been trying to win all week and then went on to win a bottle of champagne which I drank way too quickly and consequently made the other activities a lot harder to focus on. Mini golf drunk is pretty interesting. Also, whilst merry we decided to go for a swim in the indoor spa pool and thought it was a great idea to make some more go-pro footage. In our tipsy state we recorded some fantastic footage that has since made me giggle and question our maturity watching it back.

Once showered and ready for the evening we decided to head down to the beach which was only a 5-minute walk away from our hotel and went for a lovely walk along the sea front and chatted and laughed about our favourite parts of the holiday. Dinner was perfect, they held a romantic evening and lit the whole restaurant in candlelight whilst a saxophonist played live during the meal. It was just what we needed to wind down on our last day and appreciate the lovely week we had had and appreciate the quality time we had spent together. When we left we promised to each other that we would come back to this place and said our goodbyes to the staff and confirmed we would see them all again as and when we plan to go back. But for now, it's back home to reality.

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